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The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally get underway on 24 August 2021 (Tuesday).

Maybe you did not know much about the father of the Paralympic Movement, Sir Ludwig Guttmann. Or perhaps the differences between Paralympic sports and their Olympic counterparts. There is so much about the Paralympics that will surprise you, apart from the outstanding abilities of Para athletes. 

Cheah Liek Hou

1. Badminton and taekwondo will make their Paralympic debuts at Tokyo 2020.

2. Tokyo will make history as the first city to stage the Paralympic Games for a second time, having hosted the event in 1964.

3. The Paralympic mascot for Tokyo 2020 is called Someity, which comes from someiyoshino, a popular cherry blossom variety, and additionally echoes the English phrase “so mighty”.

4. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic torch is designed to depict the shape of a flame. The five flames generated from the petal unite at the center of the torch, emulating even greater brilliance.

5. Runners with vision impairment are tethered to guide runners with a tiny strap that will attach to their arms or hands.

6. Runners with a vision impairment must always finish in front of their guide runners.

Abu Samah Borhan

7. Players are allowed two bounces of the ball in wheelchair tennis.

8. The word “Paralympic” derives from the Greek preposition “para” (beside or alongside) and the word “Olympic”. Its meaning is that Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics and illustrates how the two movements exist side-by-side.

Nur Azlia Syafinaz Mohd Zais & Nurul Suhada Zainal

9. Tandem bikes are used in Para-cycling for athletes with a vision impairment, with the front rider called a pilot guiding the way.

10. Three Malaysian athletes – Abdul Latif Romly, Muhammad Ziyad Zokefli, and Mohamad Ridzuan Mohamad Puzi bagged gold at Rio 2016 Paralympics.

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